Earlier this week I was lucky enough to spend the night in a large, comfortable, en-suite room with excellent facilities and attentive service which commanded a stunning view over one of the most famous, turreted medieval bridges in Western Europe ……..
If I’d been paying premium rate to stay here, I would have been a little disappointed with the dismal weather. The dreary, unending drizzle would have dampened any enthusiasm for sight-seeing. However, if sunshine was lacking, there was no shortage of excellent drugs.
For, no sooner had I checked in than I was given two small, innocent-looking pills to take. Yes, a year after my fractured left tibia was cobbled back together, here I was, back in the same hospital, to have the titanium plate and screws removed from my leg.
I’d scrubbed myself top to toe, as instructed, with nicotine-yellow Betadine antiseptic both the previous evening and early in the morning and was now spotlessly microbe-free with fully electric and unruly hair. Once installed in my room (bed on the window side, no room-mate yet) my leg was painted again with Betadine and, pills swallowed around 10am., I settled down to await the call to surgery.
Next thing I know it’s 15.29 according to my phone. 15.29!! Had I had the operation without even noticing?!
I tore off the sheets to check. No – naked leg with lumpy, subcutaneous infrastructure was still the same as at 10am. Oh no, that meant it was unlikely I would be sent home that day as promised (pending multiple vehicle pile-ups).
Not long after, a pretty young man with distracting neck tattoos and fashionably (what do I know – it looked, er, trendy) sculpted hair, came to re-unite me with a bulky blue file and wheel the both of us down to the bowels of the building where I was reassured that at least three of us orthopaedics were to be “finished off” before the surgical team knocked off for the evening.
Having laid it on thick at the interview with the anaesthetist (and anyone else passing who would listen) that having a mask whacked, without warning, over my face scared the living daylights out of me (long story to do with training for a plane catching fire…) the mask was merely waved under my nose whilst I said, “Is this where I pass ou……”, having last looked at the clock at 18.20. Next thing I know, it’s about an hour later and I’m coming to and being wheeled back to the Room with a View.
A little later the surgeon called in to tell me not to do anything strenuous any time soon, then a bland but welcome meal-on-a tray arrived and I scrambled together enough remaining brain cells to phone home and tell the husband that I’d had the op. and would be staying the night – thus freeing him up to relax with a glass of wine. Then I succumbed to deepest, drugged sleep and had a wonderful night’s rest on a really comfortable bed. (The very least a hospital can provide is a thoroughly comfortable bed one can leave as soon as possible – one way or the other.)
Two middle-aged gentleman nurses came in every couple of hours to check my blood pressure and change the drip and it hardly registered, so discreet were they. A far cry from the cries and shouts that kicked off with the day shift; joking, hooting and shrieking in the corridors from 7am on……….. and then my new room-mate was wheeled in by gravelly-voiced ambulancemen – an elderly lady, deeply asleep or unconscious…… and, barely disturbed, I slept some more.
My room-mate slumbered with equal dedication as I snacked on tepid coffee, biscottes and redcurrant jelly; a breakfast designed to fill you …with a desire to get out of hospital ASAP and I had barely finished, washed and dressed when husband arrived to take me home.
Nobody we asked on the ward had the remotest idea how to facilitate the discharge of a limping patient from a third floor room to a car not allowed to park any closer than 200 metres away in an underground car park, so I leaned against a wall outside the hospital in the driving rain whilst husband reclaimed the car and drove back to pick me up and take me home.
Now life’s on temporary hold again. Though the leg is healing fast, things are complicated by a trapped sciatic nerve on my other side! I’m only just daring to get close to the horses again, not wanting to be pushed over by an errant breath or a swish of the tail until I’m far more stable – pun intended. But I can’t help just looking at them, in much the same famished way you eye up several slices of gâteau when you’re on a starvation diet.
Perhaps, soon, when we’re no longer in a car-wash state of weather and I’m all healed up again I’ll get some of that cavalière attitude back and be riding and posting about riding Pom again!
Theme tune this time: Anne Peebles’ “Can’t Stand the Rain”